Thursday, 19 December 2013

Memorials - and three for Kate

we can discover some detail about a person's life is to discover where his or her death is recorded. An obvious example is a War Memorial or a plaque in a church. In Britain the famous 'Blue Plaque' on other buildings is another.  Occasionally families may find a more intimate and personal was of making such a record. When my wife Kate died just over ten years ago I did three particular things at the time. I decided to collect together, edit and publish a book of her 'prayer-poems'. This I did under the title The Green Heart of the Snowdrop. It was published by the Ion a Community Press.

Kate was a member of that Community so the two other things I did were associated with it. Together with other members of the family, and in particular our three sons, we have provided a bench in the ground on the Island of Iona in the Scottish Western Highlands, where people my sit and experience and enjoy what George Macleod the Community's founder called 'a thin place, where barely a tissue of gossamer divides earth and heaven'. The bench is in the care of Historic Scotland and has in recent years been found in the grounds of either Iona Abbey or Iona Nunnery, incidentally places also associated historically with myself through my McLean grandmother. On the back rest of the seat is simply reads Remember Kate McIlhagga, nee McCrae, 1938 to 2002.

The third thing I did was to provide a hundred tree samplings, which were planted on the Isle of Mull at a tiny salmon-fishing hamlet canned Camas. Camas is within sight of Iona and is used by the Iona Community as a place where people can experience spiritual renewal in the context of an 'outward-bound' type living together. This is primarily aimed at young people and was near to Kate's heart for she was trained by the Church of Scotland as a Youth Worker before we married and some five years later trained in England as a minister.

The photograph above was taken recently by a friend called Kate on a visit to Camas as part of her training to become a member of the Iona Community.In red on blue you can just discern in a Celtic script the name of the plantation, and the name Kate McIlhagga. For those visiting Iona Abbey and in particular worshipping with its daily morning worship it gives a little context to one of the names read out on the 31st day of the month when all former members are commemorated.

1 comment:

  1. The wording on the sign is:-

    Fearann – Coilleach
    Planted in 2003 these native trees will help form a shelter belt for the garden.
    Sensitive management will mean an increase in the diversity of plant and wild life.
    Funding was generously provided by friends, members and associates of the Iona Community.